Monday, December 22, 2008

From Chicago to home

Three hours late taking off, the apparent reason being the ice on various panels was delaying the unload and load of cargo, bags etc. Maybe. Like it isn't always cold up in the air and isn't snowy and icy in Zurich and Chicago during winter ..

This time I was stuck in the middle of the middle section of the seats and, naturally, the guy to my right was ugly and fat, a man who couldn't stop splaying his legs and elbows into my space. Fortunately on the other side of me was a chatty, humorous and happily non-conformist young woman. Family all over the place, conversant in at least three languages, confident enough to, in true American fashion, tell all in 15 minutes (something I'm always criticized for doing). Zany enough to laugh at my sense of the ridiculous. I enjoy traveling, notwithstanding my constant critiques of increasingly crappy service, and meeting people like this is always fun.

Like the transient sand art of Tibetan monks, part of the pleasure is in knowing that this is the one contact I will ever have with this person.

I managed to sleep most of the flight; the movie I saw was "Wanted", entirely forgettable and definitely not worth paying money for, either at the theater or as rental. Not even worth downloading.

The plane arrived way too late for me to connect to Nice. All of these airports now sprawl so much that it takes upwards of 20 minutes to get from gate to gate. I checked the transfers and fortunately could still get to Nice the same day, arriving about 4 hours later than the original schedule.

I went to the Swiss Air lounge and, surprise, I was allowed in. Not only that, but I was able to take a shower too, which after two days travel was a godsend. Chilled out there, wandered around the concourse, bought some more presents, went down to the departure gate and boarded the flight for Nice.

The sun was just setting, as we climbed, the dark silhouette of the Alps was framed by a deep red strip proclaiming the end of the day, slipping away from the indigo of the night. Some lights were visible in the valleys before they were lost beneath low lying clouds. It was a very magical flight down to the sea.

Got through pass control and customs very quickly and within a few minutes Marcia had arrived. We drove into the center of Nice, had a dinner at Buffalo Joe's, a Texas-style restaurant franchise that makes tasty food. Then we went home, where Marcia sohowed me all the things she had done for Christmas, including decorating the tree solo, wrapping presents. Marcia is very precious to me.

Within a short while, I was in bed and deep asleep.

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